The Texans are at a crossroads with not only the face of their franchise, but with their former one.
While Houston has been adamant about keeping quarterback Deshaun Watson, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported the club is undecided about defensive end J.J. Watt.
"The Houston Texans know that J.J. Watt deserves clarity on his future," Rapoport said Saturday on Good Morning Football: Weekend. "This is something he wants, this is something the organization wants. And from what I understand, this is coming. The team knows it has a decision to make on J.J. Watt and it sounds like Watt is wondering what this decision is. Is he going to be in Houston next year? A very open question."
Unlike perhaps with Watson, the Watt question is one that Houston has the leverage to answer for itself. The three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year turns 32 in March and will be entering the final year of his contract -- he's set to make $17.5 million. NFL Network's James Palmer reported that the belief among some teammates and coaches was that Watt has played his last down with the Texans. Garafolo intimated that a split would be welcomed by both sides.
"It doesn't seem like the Texans, who have a new regime in, would reset the table and give him a long-term extension," Garafolo said. "If that's the case and you're entering that last year, then perhaps it might be best to just let him go and get a fresh start elsewhere. He's been through so much. He certainly wants to play for a winner. He's been to the playoffs in his career, but he wants to go deep into the playoffs, deeper than he's ever been."
That is not the trajectory the Texans are on with Watson. If they acquiesce to his recent trade demand, a complete rebuild has commenced. And it would make sense to do so without the most accomplished player in their history.